Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The future looks dim

The Drew Gilpin Faust Fan Club has since last November several times taken note of the resemblance POTUS has to our dear DGF. With much discussion recently about his resemblance to Spock, and after a field trip to see the new Star Trek prequel, we labored to see if a character there might resemble DGF, or if perhaps she might be even more Spocklike than POTUS. After all, like Spock, who spurned the Vulcan elite in order to join Starfleet Academy, Drew left behind her native land to achieve great power within an alien culture.

Alas, we could not see much of Dr. Faust in Mr. Spock. In fact, we came away disheartened to see that in the far distant future, despite so many advances in space travel and intergalactic cooperation, civilization has not advanced far enough to enable the invention of pants for women.

Three women are in the movie. One is shown only in the final stage of giving birth. She is of course pantless. One is sexually accommodating the young Kirk. She is pantless and green. Not that there's anything wrong with being green. The third is Uhura. She is wonderful but she exists only for Kirk to pine after and Spock to kiss. It is implied that she is also brilliant and useful. The poor dear, though, along with the other women on the ship, must traipse about pantless.

I asked Drew to weigh in on the issue of what does the future hold for women if we must go pantless. Here is her reply:

"As we attempt to balance yesterday’s dreams with today’s realities and tomorrow’s needs, we must remember that as we struggle with our own wardrobes, we are nonetheless being looked to for future and intergalactic solutions. I believe we in the present are uniquely prepared to answer the future's summons - through the breakthroughs that result from our research, through our concentration of institutions that are anchored here, and through our shared capacity for collaboration and innovation that helps drive sartorial progress.

"We are in an enviable position because our institutions - including UMass, Tufts, Northeastern, Boston University, MIT, and Harvard, together form an enormous engine, an engine that is fueled by curiosity and a mission to stretch the boundaries of new fabrics and their embellishments, an engine that must continue to do so in order to ensure our continue ability to supply pants to women.

"Our colleges and universities are magnets for funding from outside sources, which enables us to spend considerable dollars right here in the Commonwealth, at high-end boutiques, at the fabulous Natick Collection, and at the off-price stores, at TJ Maxx, at Microcenter, and at Trader Joe's.

"One of the most significant things about our research universities is that they are engines that also produce the fuel – the scientists, physicians, and engineers, and their husbands - that buy the new products that will help renew our economy and power the nation’s ability to continue to provide leg-wear for women. Mayor Menino understands this, and his advocacy, along with that of leaders on Beacon Hill, has helped ensure that Boston and Massachusetts will continue to be the world’s leading pants wearers, even during these challenging times and well into the distant future. "

These are encouraging words from a brilliant woman. I take heart! Perhaps the future will continue to be as progressive for women as the present. It's literally the least we can ask.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Honorary degree

The financial services professionals are wondering if we are having a junk rally. DGF and I meanwhile are suffering through a junk spring. We are back into cashmere and corduroy, bundling up to check on the progress of our polygonum in the petit bois. What bright spots can we find in the gardens of our lives, nevermind Wall Street and Main Street?
Miss Grimke: You should be one of those Southerners made honorary Yankees.
DGF: I'm not sure what to think of that.
Miss Grimke: Many honors are double-edged.
DGF: Not those bestowed by the New York Historical Society.
Miss Grimke: Stephen Colbert and Shepard Fairey could be honorary Yankees.
DGF: Who's an honorary Southerner?
Miss Grimke: Mitt Romney off the top of my head.
DGF: Do you think all Republicans who aren't from the South should be honorary Southerners?
Miss Grimke: No of course not. David Souter wouldn't be a Southerner if you locked him in a closet with Dolly Parton and force-fed him grits. Neither would Bill Buckley.
DGF: At least he'd be warm!